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FAQ about tattoo inks

Updated BfR FAQ, 16 September 2019

In Germany, roughly 12 percent of the population are tattooed, and this figure is set to rise in the future. In the age group of 16- to 29 years old, as many as 23 percent bare a tattoo. Tattoo inks may consist of many individual substances that have not been assessed in terms of their potential to be harmful to health when used in this way. In colour tattoos organic pigments, capable of achieving deep and vibrant colours, are being used. Permanent make-up inks primarily consist of iron oxides and carbon black. Examples of problematic ingredients in tattoo inks include carcinogenic aromatic amines as cleavage products of organic colourants or as impurities; preservatives and heavy metals may also be found as other impurities. In addition, tattoo inks are now available with special effects like "glow in the dark", whose ingredients are largely unknown. Acute problems that can occur after tattooing include infections, foreign-body reactions, scarring or allergic reactions. Little is known about the long-term effects of tattoo inks. The German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) has answered frequently asked questions about tattoo and permanent make-up inks.

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16.09.2019
Updated BfR FAQ
FAQ about tattoo inks 72.0 KB
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